Impact of NATO’s Strategy 2030
The NATO’s Strategy adopted by representatives of all 30 members of the military bloc who had gathered in Brussels on 14th June 2021 to discuss the current challenges that the alliance is facing is indicative of either some perceptible cleavage with USA’s threat perception, priorities and strategic plans or else US’ tacit approval of allowing NATO to remain focused on Russia while America with new allies takes care of the newly identified Asia-Pacific region. The joint communiqué said that they agreed to “further strengthen NATO as the organizing framework for the collective defence of the Euro-Atlantic area, against all threats, from all directions”. The alliance stated that they were facing "systemic competition from assertive and authoritarian powers as well as growing security challenges”; naming Russia and China (in that order) among the main causes of their security concerns. "We are increasingly confronted by cyber, hybrid, and other asymmetric threats, including disinformation campaigns, and by the malicious use of ever-more sophisticated emerging and disruptive technologies", the joint statement said. As stated, part of the renewed NATO strategy will apparently be continued confrontation with Russia based on the pretext of Moscow allegedly engaging in behaviour not compatible with international law. The member states agreed not to return to the pre-2014 relations with the Kremlin unless it changes this supposed behaviour. The members of the bloc also rejected Moscow's proposal for mutual non-deployment of missiles previously banned under the INF Treaty, which was abandoned by the US in 2019. The joint statement claimed that the proposal is inconsistent with Moscow's actions. The NATO countries further vowed to respond to the growing Russian missile arsenal in a "measured [and] balanced" way, while stressing that they have no plans to deploy land-based nuclear weapons in Europe.
The members of the alliance have also drawn special attention to China, claiming that the country's goals and behaviour present "systemic challenges to the rules-based international order". They accused Beijing of being involved in "coercive policies", covertly upgrading its armed forces and using disinformation to achieve its goals and asked her to "act responsibly" in the international system and to respect its commitments. At the same time, the communiqué stopped short of identifying China as NATO's rival. "China’s growing influence and international policies can present challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance. We will engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the Alliance", the statement said. Beijing has harshly responded to the joint statement, insisting that it "deliberately slandered" China and arbitrarily interfered in its internal affairs. China suggested that it was a product of the "sinister intentions" of a few countries, including the US.
The communiqué of the NATO members also endorsed efforts directed at restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal), praising its "non-proliferation benefits". They also hailed efforts that have been made so far by the signatories to the deal and the US aimed at salvaging the accord. At the same time, the bloc’s members condemned Tehran's alleged involvement in arming militant groups in the Middle East, including providing missile technologies. They separately called on Iran to cease all missile activities that go against UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and urged Tehran to refrain from developing and testing missiles that are capable of delivering nuclear warheads. However, the resolution's wording on the matter is not legally binding and Iran has repeatedly rejected any attempts at discussions on limiting its missile programme. The Islamic Republic insists that it is its sovereign right to develop weapons for the defence of the country.
It goes without saying that the creation of the NATO security alliance in the backdrop of WW-II was primarily to contest and contain the former Soviet/ Warsaw Pact bloc. However after the dissolution of Soviet Union due to a failed adventure in Afghanistan (1979-1989), the NATO Alliance was gasping for new threats to justify its existence and huge military expenditures. Consequently, since the mid 90s, NATO gradually got sucked in by USA led endless wars based on conjured threat matrix far away from homeland or from Euro-Atlantic theatre. The US led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria added to copious economic, domestic and foreign policy challenges for the NATO members; besides unaffordable human and economic losses. The disenchantment of NATO with wars in Afghanistan and Syria got aggravated by former US president Trump’s obduracy and pressure on NATO countries to bear more economic burdens for keeping the security umbrella intact. Therefore, NATO has shown due prudence in sequencing and prioritizing their perceived threats and theatre of War, which are not wholly in line with USA priority. America has taken almost a decade in identifying, sequencing and prioritizing the new strategic theatre of conflict by consistently shifting focus to Asia-Pacific zone to contest and contain China by forming new mini NATO comprising of USA, Australia, Japan and India with the hope of other like minded countries like South Korea, Philippine, UK and France to join. Needless to say that despite US’ Asia-Pacific Rebalancing Policy in place for over a decade now, finally NATO seems to be following her own strategic course and squeezing back by focusing on Russia as a prime threat and by supporting engagement with China to cooperate where they can and compete where they must; besides, work with America to restore JCPOA with Iran. How will America woe-betide disinterested NATO countries will be a great test for POTUS Joe Biden and his administration. On the other hand, Chinese BRI project and re-assertive Russian policies under Putin are showing consistent successes and expansion in respective spheres of influence and even far beyond that, resulting in return to multi-polarity and emergence of new strategic economic and security alliances.
For a country like Pakistan which has suffered the most both during Soviet as well as during America/NATO’s invasion of Afghanistan, missing the wider context of global conflict and saving one's own house from burning is an unavoidable imperative. The strategic strands of our domestic, foreign, security and economic policies need to remain cognizant of the fact that any bait that involves Pakistan in a conflict must repeated must not be given a bite again. We need to strive hard for economic independence by hanging the culprits and recovering the plundered national wealth to pay off external and internal loans, stay in the rightly chosen strategic security and economic alliances, effectively seal our borders and expel all aliens as top most priority to defeat hostile multi-directional covert war launched inside Pakistan and deliver the death blow to the proxies in their launch bases inside or outside Pakistan with strongest punch that we have. No half cocked or soft approach in dealing with the foreign proxies, Trojan horses, moles and extremists is likely to succeed. Last but not the least, pursuance of wrong footed peace with India or any other foe misled by academician is a recipe for further disaster; hence no appeasement and no compromise on our long sought after national interest with Kashmir (IIO J&K) on top of the list is suggested to the incumbent national decision makers. “The reputation of those countries which cater to the foreign policy interests of other states at the expense of their own national interests will go down regardless of how they explain their actions' .~
June 17, 2021